Having found success in theater musical writing, William Elvin goes back to indie as a singer-songwriter with new album “Sacred/Profane/Mundane.”
The album has originals songs written by William and recorded with some Filipino musicians in Hong Kong, where he worked as a journalist.
“I made them study the songs and we recorded it. Actually, it’s very much home recordings, meaning, every instrument you hear was recorded at home,” William said.
William was a corporate guy, having worked in the PR and the media industry before pursuing his calling as a musician. He wrote songs for theater plays, including “Rizal X” in 2010, “Maxie The Musicale” in 2013, and “Mula Sa Buwan” in 2016.
“I felt the need to go back and write and play music again. I consider myself more a songwriter than singer or musician. It’s more the words I want to highlight,” he said.
Before the social media and online music era, it was usually his family and peers who supported his music and bought his home-recorded CDs.
“The direction I want to take is every year I want to put out an album. It’s not about if it makes money or not. It’s for me to put to practice the art and also for small group of people to really appreciate it,” he said.
William considers himself songwriter more than singer. His music influences include Bob Dylan and The Beatles.
“Before I studied Theater in UP Diliman, I studied Music in UST, so I got the theoretical side on how it is written. But when I write songs, I don’t think of that much. I let the influences in me pour out. So, I listen to a lot of stuff,” he said.
William still wants to write a musical play when there’s opportunity.
“I want to write a very Hong Kong-based musical but I still don’t have time it would be light, a superhero type of musical. She’s a domestic helper that gets a chemical radiation power so it’s gotta be more like quirky superhero. So, there’s also an element of romance,” he said.
With his success in musical plays, William said he could have talked to big wigs in the music industry but he prefers to have his own artistic freedom.
“The music industry nowadays is much different. If you don’t have a steady following that will automatically buy your music, you will also not be automatically signed or produced. I could have partnered with other producers, but as an artist, I want the freedom of doing things without as much outside voices as possible, except for the ones I really trust,” he said.
Where does he find inspiration in writing songs? William gets his ideas from the sad stories of people he knows.
“I think it has more power. I get more inspired with sad stories from other people. Even if it’s not my own story, I find more power in sad stories,” he said.
He also talked about his song “1023,” which is a gift to a couple. 1023 means October 23, the anniversary of his couple friends.
“For quite some time, it didn’t have a title. So, when they got married, I wanted to give that as a gift so I gave that as a title,” he said.
Among the songs from the album, “Miss Elizabeth” is his most favorite.
“I think it encapsulates the album really well. The story starts about her being an aspiring artist then she gets thrown in the showbiz life. I’ve been trying to write more songs like this lately. I’ve been trying to deviate from love songs, or pop song side of me. I want to eventually evolve into a storyteller of songs. As you listen to the story, you’ll realize it’s more of a social commentary,” he said.